When You Have No Motivation
Now that the seasons are changing again from the vibrant, sunny, warm summer to the gloomy, gray, and cold winter it's inevitable for the instinct to hibernate to kick in. Now that it's dark by 5pm, the only thing that sounds good to do is order pizza, Netflix, and chill. Don't get me wrong, these things can be healthy ways to give yourself some self care, but if it's all you're doing, it can easily become a habit that leads to low motivation, isolation, anxiety and depression. So this blog is about finding a good balance to prevent this low motivation paralysis monster from taking over.
1. Get yourself into a daily routine and healthy habits without talking yourself out of it. Set up a schedule for yourself in your calendar to follow like it's your job. Start small and realistically so you don't set yourself up to fail.
2. Reward yourself after completing a task or following your schedule with that special treat or favorite show.
3. Exercise with an accountability partner and do something you really enjoy. Maybe it's dance class, spin class, or swimming. Don't force yourself to do an activity that you hate, instead get into something that is fun for you, then you'll be more likely to follow through with it. Also find a buddy that is very disciplined and counts on you to show up.
4. Make small goals for yourself. Think about the things that you want to define for yourself and break them down into smaller steps towards those things.
5. Choose a fun and new hobby to get into. Find a project on Pinterest to try out. Creating something will give you a sense of purpose and completion. It's also a way to focus on something else besides the blah weather outside.
6. Quiet your negative self talk. You know the one that says "Nah, it's too cold out to go to the gym" or "If I try to make something on Pinterest, I will just mess it up". Don't even let your mind go there, and just start one of the things listed above. If you find yourself in the Negative Nancy state of mind, try to immediately switch that thought to the opposite and positive. So instead it's, "I'm going to go the gym and feel really good about myself" or "I'm going to make something really cool from Pinterest".
7. If you're stuck and can't find any motivation to start, give yourself a time limit to allow this feeling to ride out. Determine a timeframe like, "Ok, I'm going to allow myself to feel this way for the next 30 minutes, but after that I'm going to take a step towards action". Even if it's a small step that's ok, one action produces subsequent feelings to do more actions, it's just getting started that's difficult.
If you find yourself really stuck and unable to shake the symptoms of depression or anxiety that are persistent, please do not go through it alone. Reach out to Empower Counseling Services or another mental health service close to you where there is support for help.
Rachel Bauer, LMSW, ADS is a Co-Owner, Therapist, and Acupuncturist at Empower Counseling Services. Go to empowercounseling.org for more information!